A recent beach holiday taught me the hard way that it is wise to keep a portable vacuum in the van. Perhaps if I had this latest model from Dyson on board we wouldn’t have brought half of Newquay beach home with us.

The DC31 is a powerful handheld unit that provides constant suction for 10 minutes. For more stubborn dirt it has a dual power mode. This allows you to flick a switch and have six minutes of higher suction. Its Root Cyclone technology ensures you don’t lose suction as you vacuum, and the lifetime filter ensures dust and dirt get picked up and stay up. Emptying is easy and mess-free. Simply flick a button for the bottom of the dust collection box to flip open.

We tested the sister version of this product, the DC16 (December 2008) and it fared very well. The only niggle then was its size. However, the DC31 is much more compact, making it much more user-friendly in the van. At £130 though, the sticking point for this very impressive unit is the price.